Boasting access to a number of national parks, state parks, and national forests, Moab is an adventurer’s paradise. Throngs of visitors flock each year to take advantage of world-class biking, climbing, and river running. The city’s restaurant scene has risen to the occasion, offering excellent restaurants with a variety of cuisines, inspirations, and a range of prices. We explore the ten best restaurants in the area.
Housed in a building that was once a popular drive-in burger joint, Moab Diner is full of character and nostalgia. Regulars can’t say enough about the friendly service, affordable prices, and generous portions. Along with standard lunch and dinner fare, the restaurant serves breakfast all day, so hungry patrons can enjoy an omelette at any time. Moab Diner also boasts an old-fashioned ice cream bar that has survived over half a century, through changing ownership. It is the perfect place to go for home-style food and a nostalgic sweet treat.
Without a doubt, a restaurant with “watering hole” in the name must be a welcoming and easy-going place, and Zax is just the place. This restaurant attracts locals and visitors with uncomplicated food and great beer. Using a wood-fired brick oven, pizzas are made to order with a variety of fresh ingredients. Customers love the buffet option, with all you can eat soup, salad and pizza. To wash your meal down, Zax offers a large selection of microbrews from craft breweries around the state. Zax also serves excellent burgers, sandwiches, and fries. This is the perfect place to go for a relaxing bite to eat after a day of adventuring.
Among locals in Moab, Jailhouse Cafe is a well-known favorite for breakfast. The menu offers American breakfast standards as well as several items that are less common, like ginger waffles with apple butter, Swedish pancakes with lingonberries, and a chorizo-egg scramble. A favorite that any visitor must try is the Soul Food Bacon: a thick-cut, salty bacon that is sure to fill you up for the day. Jailhouse Cafe has a small dining room that feels cozy and comfortable, and the service is always friendly.
Steeped in local history, Sunset Grill is Moab’s premier fine dining destination. The restaurant is located atop a mountain, with sweeping views of Moab and the surrounding red cliff-side that the area is famous for. Before becoming a restaurant in 1993, the building was the luxurious home of a millionaire that mined uranium in the nearby mountains. Today, Sunset Grill is a classy member of the small-town restaurant scene, serving dinner and drinks daily. The menu offers American fare, with dishes like prime rib, raspberry duck, and an Idaho Snake River trout. A wine and beer list with a large selection of locally-made beverages is available and ready to be expertly paired with your meal. Though the food is exquisite, be sure to look up and enjoy the stunning view; it is truly unlike any else in the world.
Milt’s Stop & Eat is everything one would expect from an American burger joint, but is leagues ahead of the big-name chains. This eatery has been in business since the fifties, and remains a charming spot from which to get simple food. The menu offers classics like burgers, hotdogs, sandwiches, fries, and tater tots. All of the beef used is grass-fed and hormone-free, and the restaurant sources vegetables and dairy products from local farms. Milt’s also gives customers the option of upgrading a speciality burger to buffalo and getting a little taste of the West. But whichever meal you choose, be sure to save room for a classic dessert like a malted milkshake or a banana split.
The dining room at Twisted Sista’s is a lively combination of rustic decor and bright color. The two sisters that run the restaurant have created a space that is light-hearted and approachable. This dining hotspot is open for lunch, dinner, and tapas. Soups, salads, sandwiches, and meat entrees make up the majority of the menu, with several vegetarian and vegan options as well. A few house favorites include the pomegranate beet salad, the coconut crusted shrimp, and the chicken lollies. For something sweet, the chocolate peanut butter pie is enough to send you into a sugar-induced coma. Twisted Sista’s also serves creative beverages, like the Slickrock Sunrise, the Hell’s Revenge Kamikaze, and the Corona Arch Cosmo: all inspired by nearby natural beauties.
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Miguel’s Baja Grill serves authentic dishes from all over Mexico, but mostly from the Baja California region on the West coast. Several dishes on the menu feature seafood, and ocean fare from Miguel’s is always fresh. The produce used in the kitchen is organic whenever possible. Beyond the expected nachos, tacos, and guacs, Miguel’s also serves hearty salads and a bacon-wrapped scallop appetizer that is a must-try. This place has become so popular that there can be a wait for a table, so make sure to avoid disappointment by making a reservation.
Moab Brewery is one of the best in the state, and its restaurant is a must-visit in the Moab area. The brewery makes some seriously good microbrews, including ales, lagers, and brewed sodas. On the restaurant’s menu there is something for everyone, whether they are looking to enjoy a cold pint or something else. In the restaurant, Moab Brewery serves tasty, simple food that is a far cry from the typical greasy bar options. Chicken, vegetable, and fish dishes bring out local flavors and inspiration, while many meat dishes are smoked Texas-style. The beer cheese soup with in-house ale is sure to make anyone come back for more.
This entry on our list not a store-front restaurant. However, what the Quesadilla Mobilla lacks in brick and mortar, it makes up for in zest and accessibility. The menu is simple: tortillas stuffed with a selection of cheeses and toppings, then grilled to perfection. It really is the perfect meal; fast, tasty, and enjoyed sans silverware. Local favorites include the Southern Belle: shredded beef with jack cheese, sweet potato, and corn, and the New Mexican Identity Crisis: cheese, artichoke, spinach, and black olives. All menu items are less than ten dollars, so there really is no excuse for not trying Quesadilla Mobilla.
Desert Bistro lies in the heart of Moab, but has several other locations in the area. In response to the seasonal highs and lows of a tourism-based community, the Desert Bistro is closed during the winter months. The menu is highly influenced by fresh and available ingredients, changing often and offering specials that reflect what is in season. Fish is flown in daily, guaranteeing a quality product for the market special each night. Local meats also appear on the menu in dishes like smoked rabbit quesadilla, and Lava Lake rack of lamb. Reservations are highly recommended, as the restaurant can become very busy during the summer months.